Coty Inc.

May 20, 2005 08:53 ET

Coty Inc. To Acquire Unilever's Prestige Fragrance Business Move Creates Leading Fragrance Company

NEW YORK--(CCNMatthews - May 20, 2005) -

Coty Inc. announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the global prestige fragrance business of Unilever (NYSE: UN, UL) for $800 million.

Unilever Cosmetics International (UCI) owns the perfume licenses for Calvin Klein, Cerruti, Vera Wang, Chloe and Lagerfeld. Upon closing of the transaction, Coty will become one of the world's leading fragrance companies.

"Today's acquisition represents an important further step in the transformation of Coty that began in 2001," said Chief Executive Officer Bernd Beetz. "Over the last several years, Coty's success with fashion, celebrity and lifestyle fragrances has enabled us to grow when most of our industry has been flat or shrinking. We are now entering a new phase in which we will greatly expand our presence in the market for prestige and ultra-prestige brands on a global basis."

Beetz added, "In addition to making Coty a leading player in a highly fragmented industry, this acquisition will move us closer to our longer-term goal of being among the top five beauty companies in the world."

In addition to the perfume licenses, Coty will acquire a manufacturing and distribution center in Mt. Olive, New Jersey and a distribution center in Lille, France. As part of the agreement, Coty may make further deferred payments to Unilever contingent upon the future sales performance.

The new fragrances will become part of Lancaster Group Worldwide, the prestige division of Coty, which is led by Michele Scannavini, President, Lancaster Group Worldwide. The acquisition advances the Lancaster Group's strategy to increase sales in the United States, while giving Coty an even greater presence in Europe and a much stronger foothold in Asia.

Along with its presence in the prestige and ultra-prestige market, Coty is a leading company for mass fragrances such as adidas and masstige brands such as Celine Dion. The company has had an enviable success rate in introducing new fragrances over the past several years.

Beetz concluded, "With the addition of UCI's prestige brands, we will have some true 'blockbusters' in the Coty family. Our goal will be to leverage our formula for success in further building the appeal of these brands on a world platform."

Coty expects to complete the purchase of UCI within the coming months, pending regulatory approvals and normal consultative procedures.

About Coty Inc.

Coty Inc. is one of the world's largest and most successful beauty companies with sales of $2 billion in 2004. With operations in more than 25 countries, Coty Inc. boasts a global brand portfolio of unrivaled breadth and scope, spanning the three core categories of fragrance, color cosmetics and skincare in the prestige, mass and masstige distribution sectors.

Coty Beauty, Coty Inc.'s mass and masstige division, markets brands such as adidas, the healing garden, Rimmel, Calgon, Celine Dion, Stetson, Jovan, Aspen, Isabella Rossellini, Astor, Esprit, mary-kateandashley, Miss Sixty, Shania Twain and David and Victoria Beckham. Lancaster Group, the prestige division of Coty Inc., has a portfolio of brands including Davidoff, Jennifer Lopez, Lancaster, Jil Sander, JOOP!, Nikos, Chopard, Vivienne Westwood, Marc Jacobs, Kenneth Cole, Baby Phat, Sarah Jessica Parker, Nautica and Jette Joop. For further information, please visit

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